Shhh – the secret East Gippsland Old Growth Project goes public.

Out  of closetUs lot of simple folk shouldn’t know this but …

The logging industry is worried they might lose their access to old growth forests. To avoid this “loss” they helped establish a secret plan to carry out dodgy technical trials- with a predetermined outcome.

It’s called the East Gippsland Project and is an attempt to prove that logging old growth is all fine and dandy as long as it’s carried out in a slightly more “sympathetic” manner. This is likely to become a big new PR buzz word like “sustainable”.

The plan

We know this formula all too well, they sell their “reasonable compromise” to the public as a generous concession. The results of the “scientific trials” could even be sold as protecting the old growth by “enhanced” management. A tame green group or two will be asked to stand beside them at the media launch and they think they’ll have it in the bag.

Graham Gooding of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) seems to have set the thing up. The band of chosen foresters and supporters who will run the project consists of Peter Rutherford, Ian Miles, Brian Walsh, Jon Drohan and Ewan Waller.

Another $1 million

They have scored $1 million from the DSE even though it’s basically a Dept of Primary Industries and Energy plan (that’s where the VicForests section now resides). This has taken precious funds from the DSE, which could have been used for decent projects not scams.
We understand that they also asked the Federal Government for a bucket of money but they were told to bugger off; something to do with not upholding the Victorian RFA.

Budget “science”

Now, without this bundle of cash, the gang of seven might have to bodgy up a bit of a trial and an outcome, using existing info or writing something up during their tea breaks.

Though we have to admit, some of the work could be half useful such as looking at alternatives to clearfelling.

As well as this “research”, PR and community chit chats will also be part of the plan – eventually. It must appear to consult but only after they’ve determined the outcome.

The lack of logs seems to be a problem and they will be trying to find ways to squeeze more out of East Gippsland than is here.

The team is also worried about the threat of new bidders for logs (outside of the old brotherhood). There might even be no need for companies like that run by Garry Squires, as the Dept could oversee all the felling and coupe work in the future.

Loggers rule ?

The industry will go along with this as long as it’s basically still status quo under another name.

But the things that could get in the way a bit are:

  • they just can’t guarantee that old growth and rainforest might finally get some protection,
  • the public might think it’s all a heap,
  • they can never be sure that some DSE folks won’t throw a spanner in their works,
  • the new VicForests agenda of decent prices for sawlogs,
  • the “unreasonable greenies” who might not want any sort of logging in old growth (here we are fellas!), and
  • the scarcity of a credible manager who’ll orchestrate the outcomes they want.

Suckers R NOT us!

Now don’t tell anyone about this remember. It’s all a secret until they ask us to come along and play suckers again. Disembowelling the scraps that are left by a new “scientific” and “sympathetic” logging method is a hard one to sell the increasingly cynical public. They’ll have a hard job with this one.

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